Let’s Turn This Ship Around!

Who thinks Archbishop Cordileone is awesome? This girl! Well, me and all of the faithful Catholics in the United States! Here’s his latest effort to turn the ship away from the iceberg before it is sunk. Sadly, the elitist 100 Prominent Catholics ™ and their ilk are going to be none to happy about this one. This is from the from September 11, 2015 issue of Catholic San Francisco’s High School Information Booklet.  See: http://catholic-sf.org/ns.php?newsid=4&id=63807

For Catholics each child has a human nature, that is, a body tightly linked to a soul. Every child has the same basic organs – heart, skin, bones, brain, etc. The soul, however, is unique to each child, in part because it is what makes Mary Jane distinct from Mary Lou. Children have capabilities that can be developed in a variety of ways. Some skills will develop pretty much just by social interaction. For others, such as reading, writing, making rhymes, or learning about nature, children have to be challenged and cajoled in order to reach high levels of performance.

Does this sound familiar to you? If you’re a Catholic who studies the Faith, it should, but those protesting Archbishop Cordileone might not be so sure. I’m also sure the “Concerned Parents and Teachers” will be foaming at the mouth against the Archbishop without knowing they’re really railing, once again, against the Catechism (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P1B.HTM).

The body, as God created it, is linked to the soul, but that is being challenged by dissenters at every turn lately. It seems that society is just fine tearing apart the body and the soul and putting them at odds with each other.

Catholic schools challenge students in two ways. First, as is the case for all schools – public or private – each teacher helps students “stretch their academic capabilities.” That is, the teacher uses different motivations to help a student find satisfaction in high accomplishment: Writing more complex sentences, reading more challenging books, memorizing poems, or doing mathematics in one’s head, not only on paper. All teachers do that.

In a Catholic school, the teacher also challenges the student to develop a relationship with God, the source of his or her human nature. The Catholic school teacher knows the child has a soul which the Holy Spirit can guide and foster a love for Christ and others. The closer the child moves to Christ and develops as a student, the more the student becomes like Christ, the new Adam, the new person who lets Christ lead the child to loving others and great academic accomplishments.

Woot! He’s kind enough to say the “Catholic school teacher knows” the child has a soul, but in reality, a good chunk of them don’t seem to think the soul is a priority. They teach the children to BECOME their sin instead of encouraging them to rightly form their conscience so they become more Christ-centered and less “me centered.”

I know he’s hoping and praying they eventually get it, for their sakes and for the sake of their students. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had entire schools with this mission? That’s what it used to be and what it’s always supposed to have been.

In Catholic schools, the goal includes not only excellence in reading, writing, and math but also growth in talking to Christ and letting Christ lead the child to full human development. In short, teachers in Catholic schools show students how to accept grace and love from Christ in their lives.

Amen, Your Excellency, amen! Let the real education begin! These goals are what are most important in this temporary life to gain everlasting life!

Understanding: When Did That Become a Bad Thing?

This. Is. Amazing! (http://bit.ly/2bRU34T) The title is mistaken at best or maybe downright disingenuous: “Here Is The Loyalty Pledge Philly Catholic Schools Are Making Parents Sign.” Interestingly enough, the document already had a title: “Memorandum of Understanding”.  Of course, they had to change the title because it doesn’t fit the narrative they’ve got going for Archbishop Chaput.

One has to ask, why doesn’t Philly Magazine think it’s a good thing for parents sending their kids to a Catholic school to understand what the schools are all about? If I were the Archbishop, I would want people to understand that. Why would anyone have a problem with it? Nobody is “making” anyone sign the document. People are free to attend a Catholic school, and they are free not to. No guns to anyone’s head. That said, if they are going to attend, they darn well better be prepared to adhere to the rules of a Catholic school and support the Catholic identity of said school. After all, it’s not a Protestant school. It’s not a Muslim school. It’s a Catholic school, for goodness sake.

The key is really in the very last line of the memo. We know that Catholic schools accept families of different faiths. The Catholic Church doesn’t expect them to convert to attend the school. However, they do expect them to:

… pledge support for the Catholic identity and mission of this school and by enrolling my child I commit myself to uphold all principles and policies that govern the Catholic School.

Let’s go over that again. The Church expects them to support the fact that it’s a Catholic school. Duh! If you don’t want to respect this fact, what should you do?  How about finding a school that doesn’t make you uncomfortable?  It also asks them to uphold the principles and policies that govern the school. Again, if you can’t do that, why the heck would you want them there anyway? I mean, it’s a little crazy to say, “I hate the teachings of the Church, therefore I’m going to put them in a Catholic school,” isn’t it?!? It’s a whole other thing to say “Well, I don’t agree with all of the teachings of the Catholic Church, but I respect the right of the school to teach Catholicism by word and deed.” What sane person would expect any less?

I think this would be a lovely thing for the Catholic schools in the Bay Area! Maybe Archbishop Cordileone could insert this somewhere in a parental handbook but the teachers should have something similar.  I’m reasonably sure the “Concerned Parents” crowd would be none too pleased. They would probably decry it as draconian to ask them to say they understand it’s a Catholic school and that they will not try to undermine that. Oh, the horrors!

Of Handbooks and Contracts

It seems there might be a tad bit of confusion in both the mainstream and Catholic media about the flap over the teachers in the four archdiocesan high schools, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to clarify some things. First, there are two different documents that were in play. One has been signed, sealed and delivered, and the other is still a work in progress. The first was the teacher contract which was just signed last week. The vast majority of this document had to do with labor issues, not morality, but there was a preamble that dealt with the overarching topic of the schools’ Catholic identities and the teachers’ need to not screw that up. The second document is the teachers’ handbook, which is still being developed. That was the document that carried the mean old words from the catechism of “gravely evil” to which so many teachers balked. It’s really not that surprising that there is some confusion, though, because most dioceses don’t deal with teachers’ unions. For some reason, though, the Archdiocese of San Francisco years ago decided to put a union between itself and their teachers.

Please check out the last version of the handbook dated March 29, 2015 (http://www.donotlink.com/ggu3). “Gravely evil” and “ministers” were removed. “Gravely evil” was being heavily mischaracterized by those against Archbishop Cordileone. Time and again the students and the media were told that the Archbishop was calling PEOPLE gravely evil instead of the sins addressed. So, what really does this handbook say? Here we go:

1) Teachers cooperate in the mission of the Church for Catholic Schools.

2) Teachers teach by example.

3) The Church cannot err in Faith and Morals. In other words, if you are going against her, you are wrong.

4) You cannot receive Communion while in mortal sin. You cannot receive while consciously living or attached to that sin. (Situation ethics don’t apply here).

5) Catholic teachers (and the rest of us) are obliged to attend Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days. (That this has to be said shows how bad the situation is.)

6) Marriage is between a man and a woman, and children have a right to their biological mothers and fathers.

7) The male-only priesthood is a doctrine of the Church.

8) You need a well-formed conscience. In other words, you don’t understand the teachings of the Church on the “primacy on conscience.” It’s definitely not, “My conscience supersedes the doctrines of the Church.”

9) All human beings are precious, whether you can see them or not, or whether you consider them to be a human being. (That includes all “gender identities” and those of us who accept our genders as they are would say “Duh!”) They are human from conception to natural death. (So no abortion and no euthanasia.)

11) All of God’s children are called to chastity. Contrary to popular belief, that includes homosexuals, heterosexuals, married, single, or any other bizarre “gender identity” or status you can come up with.

12) The Church believes in the rights of workers, which is why, ironically, it’s quite silly that we even need a teachers’ union in the first place.

13) The Church cares for the poor.

14) We have freedom of religion.

15) All should have a personal relationship with God. We don’t create Him to be what we want Him to be, but we meet Him with humility through prayer and the Sacraments.

That about sums up the handbook. This was the document that had the meat of Catholic teaching in it, not the teachers’ contract. The contract just pointed to Church teaching. It would be soooo nice if a bishop could say “You must follow the teachings of the Church.” Sadly, we’ve been left to our own devices so long, people don’t know what those are. We’ve, basically become Catholic by nationality out here. A separate handbook is greatly needed, and this one is definitely a work in progress. Even after the work is done, it’s going to take education, education, and a lot more education, and I’m not just talking about the students.

Apparently the Rumor of Concerned Parents was Greatly Exaggerated!

I generally find that when one side is yelling, “It’s not Catholic enough!” and the other side is saying, “It’s way too Catholic!”, it’s juuuuuust right. This would seem to be the case in the teachers’ contract flap in San Francisco. It took almost a whole week for the “It’s way too Catholic!” side to get over their depression and make an attempt at a statement, while the “It’s not Catholic enough!” side seems to have theirs written before the contract was released.

I, for one, am celebrating! Is the litany of sins gone? Yep, but I’ve always thought this is way better, anyway. When you start getting into specifics, it gets harder to enforce it. You know – “I don’t use IVF, but I stand out on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood on my days off and escort my students in. That’s not specifically listed in the contract!” There are endless ways people can deviate from a teaching of the Church. In San Francisco, the list is probably bigger than in many places.

Another issue to consider when some try to say, “Hey! This diocese does x, y and z. Why doesn’t San Francisco???”, is that San Francisco is dealing with a teachers’ union. Why they are unionized is a whole other issue, but they are. It makes contract changes a whole lot more complicated and messy. Thank goodness many of our bishops and archbishops don’t have to contend with a union! They also don’t have to deal with the money thrown at the PR machine, as Archbishop Cordileone has had to do.

Let’s look at the “Whereas” sections from the final contract, shall we? (I haven’t actually found the whole thing yet, and I’m pretty good with Google. If anyone has it, please send it to me!) I suspect that the below is the part that deals with morality, while the rest deals with wages, benefits, etc. (Emphasis mine.)

(http://www.sfarchdiocese.org/docs/default-source/media-items-2015/final-draft-agreement.pdf?sfvrsn=4)

2015-18 Collective Bargaining Agreement – Preamble Clauses on Catholic Education 

WHEREAS, the Union and its members recognize the unique nature of the Archdiocesan high school system in that it is Roman Catholic, committed to provide education within the framework of Catholic principles; that Catholic teachings and precepts shall remain paramount throughout the term of this Agreement; and that nothing in the Agreement shall be construed as interfering in any way with the Superintendent’s functions and duties insofar as they are canonical; and

So instead of spelling out specific Catholic teachings, we’re going with ALL of them. Yes!                                               

WHEREAS, the Union and its members recognize that all lay teachers covered by this Agreement shall perform all their duties as set forth in this Agreement in accordance with the doctrines and precepts of the Roman Catholic Church, and shall conduct themselves at all times during the performance of those duties in a manner in keeping with the standards of the Church; and

I’m reasonably sure I do not need to throw out the doctrines and precepts of the Roman Catholic Church again, but if you need a refresher, read my previous articles (especially if they have “Canon Law” in the title).

WHEREAS, the Parties to this agreement acknowledge that the purpose of Catholic schools is to affirm Catholic values through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to help students learn and develop their critical and moral faculties; and

You signed the contract. You have now officially agreed to affirm Catholic values, not those values according to you. 

WHEREAS, teachers are expected to support the purpose of our Catholic schools in such a way that their personal conduct will not adversely impact their ability to teach in our Catholic High Schools; and

This one is a biggie. Again, keep your wacky private life private! Once it becomes public, it affects your ability to teach Catholicism. 

WHEREAS, the Parties acknowledge that disputes about teacher conduct on and off the job are subject to the grievance procedure to determine whether such conduct has adversely impacted the teacher’s ability to teach in our Catholic High Schools.

Abi Basch (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/magic-queer-powers/) saw the writing on the wall in this final summation. She had no intention to keep her private life private. Instead, she had every intention to indoctrinate the kids in anti-Catholic rhetoric. She left. She was smart (well, smarter than the average person who would use the phrase “magic queer powers”) and almost had some integrity, in that she moved to a school that would support her mission to make everyone approve of her lifestyle.

You know how I know this contract is a good thing? The people against Archbishop Cordileone are dejected. After five days of trying to figure out how to spin it, they could only rehash a couple old news points which they have repeatedly said don’t appease them, they threw out the words “draconian morality clause”, then they added this (http://www.donotlink.com/gg09):

There are still concerns, apparent in the substantial no vote, that the new contract language, though an improvement over the original proposal, could still be used to bypass federal and state employment anti-discrimination laws that protect teachers from being discriminated against based on age, race, gender, disability, and/or sexual orientation. Some teachers fear the new language could have a chilling effect in the classroom and adversely impact teachers’ ability to engender trust and to participate in the open exchange of ideas with students as they explore and develop their own sexual identity, attitudes and beliefs in a safe environment. The Archbishop’s actions have already led some teachers and families to leave our communities while other families have reconsidered sending their children to our high schools. [Emphasis mine.]

Remember Abi? That was one teacher, not “some”. Buh-bye! If you had the smallest shred of intellectually honesty and agreed with the so-called “Concerned Parents,” you’d forget the high academic standards and great sports teams at these four schools and put your kids in a like-minded place. If you’re a teacher, you’d go teach somewhere else. The fact is, there isn’t going to be a mass exodus. They were told three weeks ago that nothing was going to change from here on out, and lo and behold, the promised mass exodus didn’t materialize.

The fact is, parents want the good academics and sports programs that these schools supply, and the liberal rally cry to support the alternative “immorality clause” is falling on deaf ears. The parents know their kids will still be accepted no matter their private sins. It’s only going to affect the teachers who want to sell their sins to their students. It’s simply not worth the inconvenience to most parents, or most teachers for that matter.

We must remain vigilant.  As we move forward, we will hold the Archbishop to his assurances that there will be no “witch hunt” and insist the contract be construed in the positive manner in which it was presented to the membership for a vote, including protection of teachers’ privacy and employment rights. A strong coalition parents, students, alumnae, administrators, Catholics, legislators, labor and the broader community has stood with our teachers. We have put the Archbishop on notice that we are committed to preserve inclusive, welcoming, loving schools dedicated to the pursuit of truth, the highest standards of excellence in teaching and the safety of our children.

That verbal vomit basically says “Waaa!!! We didn’t get what we want!”  You’ve really got to laugh at the mafia sounding “notice” and the “pursuit of truth” comment. They set truth aside a long time ago!

Get it through your thick, little heads. If there was such a strong coalition, the teachers would be on strike right now. Your cause simply isn’t worth the pain to the majority of those involved. As the year progresses and most teachers continue keeping their private lives private, there will be no mass firings of teachers nor students leaving the school, and you will further lose what little coalition you have left.

She Did Not Just Say This: “I felt like I was doing ministry really well…”

This anti-Catholic hit piece is way too long (and I mean WAYYYY too long) to go over the whole thing, so I’m just going to hit the “highlights” (or rather, lowlights). Sadly there are many.  By the way, if your daughter is interested in the religious life, you might advise them to cross Sisters of Mercy off their list based on Margie Winters’ account of them. The aim of this article (http://www.donotlink.com/gano) is to make Ms. Winters a martyr for the Alphabet Soup cause against faithful bishops and archbishops like Archbishop Cordileone and Archbishop Chaput:

The Fired Lesbian Teacher Fighting Back Against the Catholic Church

<start excerpts here>

Until recently, Margie Winters was a devoted teacher at the Waldron Mercy Academy, a Roman Catholic elementary school in Philadelphia where she had served as director of Religious Education for eight years.

Winters was hired at Waldron Mercy in August 2007, three months after she married her longtime partner, Andrea Vettori.

Same-sex marriage is forbidden under the official teachings of the Church, so Winters was transparent with Waldron Principal Nell Stetser’s predecessor about her marriage during the hiring process.

So, right away we find out that Nell Stetser’s predecessor was totally wrong about hiring a person he/she knew to be unrepentantly violating Church teaching.

For nearly a decade at Waldron, Winters’s marriage never interfered with her commitment to teaching and serving as a member of the greater Catholic community.

Well, her marriage didn’t interfere in her mind, but reality is quite a bit different. You cannot publicly go against Church teachings without sending a message to those who find out about it.

It remained that way until this June, when Winters ran afoul of a religiously conservative parent at Waldron who was miffed after Winters rejected her proposal for a new sex-ed curriculum.

Oh, those mean ‘ol religiously conservative Catholics (AKA faithful Catholics) who want a good sex-ed program for their children. I’m going to guess they wanted something based on Theology of the Body, Humane Vitae or something of that vein? Ah, the horrors! What was that evil woman thinking when she proposed something like that?! She might have been thinking, “Hey, might be nice if something Catholic were taught to counter whatever the practicing lesbian is teaching!”

 “This parent was very upset with the school for having someone like me in a position to review the sexuality program,” Winters tells me. “She was opposed to my being in charge of teachers, in charge of curriculum, and involved in the religious formation of young children because of my marriage.”

Uh, yeah, I would be very upset, too! Why would a faithful Catholic want the person picking the sex-education program for their kid’s schools who was bucking the Church teachings on sex? Can you say “conflict of interest?”

After the letter reached the Archdiocese’s office in Philadelphia, Winters says, Waldron had little choice but to let her go. (She was given the option to resign, with the condition that she wouldn’t speak publicly about her departure. The school did not return requests for comment.) “If they refused to fire me, it would have jeopardized the school’s Catholic identity.”

At this point I’d like to clarify a few things. The school’s Catholic identity was already hurt, not just jeopardized, by having a teacher who was publicly contradicting the Church’s teaching on sex and marriage. I’m sure that Ms. Winters is talking about the actual approval by the local archbishop for the school to use the term “Catholic” to identify themselves. There’s no proof that the archbishop/diocese actually threatened to take away permission for them to use this term. In fact, the archdiocese has made more than one statement to the effect that this did not happen. Despite the fact that I would love to see that done more often, bishops tend to not want to use that as the first step to finding a resolution. They have WAY more patience than I will ever have! While I look at the destruction in the wake of such teachers, the bishops and archbishops also take into consideration the souls of ALL of those involved. We should all try to do the same.

In the two months since Winters was fired from Waldron on June 22, her ouster has become a lightning rod for the Catholic Church’s discrimination against LGBTQ members, with Winters emerging as an activist hero.

“It’s a huge honor and a big responsibility,” she tells me, sitting sideways on the couch in khaki shorts and a sleeveless button-up shirt.

Can you say “legend in her own mind?”

“It’s very humbling because it’s not like either Andrea or I sought this out in the past,” she adds of her suddenly-conferred hero status. “It began with a decision not to resign because I didn’t think it was right, and I think people see that as a stand. It has become a stand against the church at this point and it’s become a stand for the rights of LGBT folks.”

Read that again and let it soak in: “it has become a stand against the Church.” For once, thank you for your honesty. We agree, you are totally standing against Church teaching.

Ever since Winters was let go, parents and students at Waldron have rallied around her, devastated by her forced departure and determined to support her in any way they can.

And here’s where we see that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. First of all, are we just going to ignore the parents and students who might not agree with her? How about fellow teachers? And then let’s talk support. Supposedly there’s overwhelming support, but let’s compare the support of a person who doesn’t want to supply flowers for a “gay wedding” to the cash that’s rolled in for Winters. You can’t. There is no comparison.

We’re supposed to believe that an overwhelming number of people are going to take the side of a teacher who works in a Catholic school over the right of the school to fire someone who’s contradicting the Catholic Faith?!? The reason the money isn’t flowing in full speed is because, despite how people feel about homosexuality and Catholicism, most Americans actually believe that a Catholic school has the right to promote authentic Catholicism. “Not my cup of tea but it is a Catholic school!” In short, they believe in the First Amendment.

When we meet, it’s easy to see why: Winters is warm and engaging, empathetic and even-tempered, with a gentle sense of humor and a patient attitude toward problem-solving. In short, she is the ideal elementary school teacher.

She doesn’t belabor her conflict with the parent who called for her to be fired, nor does she harbor any resentment.

Wait, there’s no resentment, but we’re still going after the diocese and the Archbishop? It’s just a little contrary. She might be a very sweet person, but people can be quite pleasant and still undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church. This was never about her being pleasant or unpleasant. It’s about her contradiction of the teachings of the Church which Waldron Mercy is supposed to espouse in word and in deed.

“It’s such a joyful place!” she enthuses. “It’s an amazing group of people who aren’t just committed to the faith, because we have non-Catholic families, but who are committed to the work of justice and peace and helping those who are less fortunate than they are.”

Screeeeech! To be committed to the Catholic Faith is all-encompassing! It’s not that we’re committed to the Faith or we’re committed to justice, peace and helping those less fortunate. It’s all of the above, which is why we’re supposed to be working toward “making disciples of all nations!” To be committed to the Catholic Faith is to be committed to all that is good. The problem here is not the people committed to the Faith. The problem is the people who put their wants in front of the Faith, which is exactly what’s going on here!

The two frequently finish each other’s sentences.

Well, by all means, let’s ditch the teachings of the Catholic Church because these two finish each other’s sentences!

Winters was studying at Gwynedd Mercy University when she had her first relationship with a woman and began to understand that she was a lesbian.

“It was a quiet piece of my identity,” she says, explaining that she was more focused on determining her identity in the Church and whether she was called to religious life.

Hon, if this wasn’t an overtly overarching move in your life, you’re really missing something. There was no quiet about it, and it hardly seems the Catholic Church was in the forefront of your thoughts. Not surprisingly, Gwynedd Mercy is supposedly a Catholic university. Epic fail on their part too? Maybe you should have spent more time discovering the identity of the Catholic Church than your identity in it. You can’t serve Him until you first know Him and love Him. I’m not sure you’ve ever gotten past the know part. It would seem more like you’ve formed Him into the image you would like Him to be. God formed us in his image, not the other way around.

It wasn’t until she fell in love with Vettori that she was really forced to confront that “quiet piece” of herself.

Just an aside, you don’t simply fall in love with someone. If you did, you’d just as easily fall out of love with them. Love is a choice you make. You made a choice.

And this is where the article really starts to turn ugly…

The two were in their early 30s when they met while studying with the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia, a community of women in the Catholic Church that welcomes Church members to live with them as they discern whether they are called to a religious life—one of celibacy and devotion to serving God’s people—or the life of a layperson.” Winters and Vettori were both still in the discernment process when they became friends, then quickly realized there was something more between them.

Does anyone notice what she left out? Anyone? How about the word chastity? Celibacy and chastity are not the same thing. It sounds like the sisters might want to focus a bit more on the formation of the virtue of chastity.

But falling in love didn’t lead them to make impulsive decisions as it often does for the rest of us. And neither Winters nor Vettori felt they had to hide their feelings from the Sisters.

“The Sisters were very open-minded, very progressive,” says Vettori. “Their hope was that we would obviously take vows and be Sisters for life with the community, but they enter into that process knowing that we might walk away at any time.”

“And we knew that they could encourage us to leave,” Winters adds. “Part of the process is coming to a mutual discernment with the community. And the Sisters feel it’s part of their mission to help form young women.”

Gag! So, it may or may not be true, but Winters and Vettori seem to be saying that the Sisters of Mercy think lesbianism is just peachy, the discernment for lesbians to stay in or leave the community is just part of their mission to help form young women, and they never told these two – who were really living in a near occasion of sin – that the Sisters of Mercy or religious life might just not be for them?!? Where does the formation come in?

Everything changed for both women when they joined the Sisters of Mercy.

“The irony is that I didn’t know myself fully as a sexual person until I entered the community,” she says.

For some, this may evoke images of women sneaking into each other’s rooms in the middle of the night, breaking vows of celibacy and rebelling against the Church’s repression of sexuality.

But it was the opposite for Winters and Vettori.

Just for them? How about the rest of the crew? Ugh! Make it stop! They’re essentially saying that the Sisters of Mercy propelled them into the lesbian lifestyle!

The process of entering religious life with the Sisters of Mercy led them to develop not just a greater understanding of their relationship to God, but a greater understanding and acceptance of who they were.

OK, I’m just going to object here and say, no way, no how, did they have a greater understanding of their relationship with God. As I said earlier, they’ve made God into what they wanted him to be, not who He is!

Still, it would be a long time before they got together. Six months after their friendship was no longer platonic, Vettori moved to St. Louis to enter the novitiate (a part of the process of religious formation). They both felt they had to go through the discernment process separately before they could consider committing to each other.

Please note, the sisters, who they didn’t hide their feelings from, never pushed the “pause” button on the process.

Margie vividly remembers the moment when she knew her discernment process was over.

“I was leading the community in song—‘Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear’—and looking out at them when this sense of freedom came to me,” she recalls, her voice suddenly thick with emotion. “For me, receiving the freedom from them to just be who I am was the last piece.”” “But with that freedom came tremendous loss.

“These were women that I grew up with in the Church. I really felt called to follow their path and then suddenly I decided it wasn’t the path for me.”

Finally, we have some agreement here! She was definitely not called to the religious life. That said, she is called to freedom, but she hasn’t found true freedom yet. She’s simply found a reality of her own making.

So, a few observations: I seem to recall somewhere along the way hearing “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Who was that again? Oh, yeah. It was Christ. (Matthew 16:24) Also, our Church teaches:

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

So, there’s that whole chastity thing. It’s really sad for these ladies that the Sisters of Mercy apparently didn’t bother to mention it to them.

Both Winters and Vettori have kept in touch with the Sisters of Mercy, in part because the Sisters have left their door open to laypeople in the Church. In doing so they’ve demonstrated how progressive they have become.

The generation before Winters and Vettori wouldn’t have maintained any relationship with the Sisters after choosing the path of a layperson. They would have been shepherded “out the back door in the middle of the night, the whole thing shrouded in secrecy,” says Vettori.

I have no idea quite what they’re getting at here. Not quite sure I want to know.

Now, Winters is once again mourning a loss, though this time the door has been closed indefinitely.

“It feels like a death,” she says. “I felt like I was doing ministry really well at Waldron. That was the direction my life had taken and where I had grown professionally and hoped to continue to grow. So to have that stopped dead is a huge loss.”

Wait just a minute! Please, ladies and gentlemen, draw your attention to this phrase. With this statement, Margie just gave a HUGE headache to the crew in San Francisco who are protesting Archbishop Cordileone. She’s likely just shot any legal case she thought she may have had in the foot, too. She just admitted that her position was a ministry!!! If you hear a deafening “Noooooooooo!” from the West Coast, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not something the rest of us don’t already know, but it is something some would like to remain hidden. To catch up on why that’s so important, please see https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/the-archbishop-vs-the-red-herrings/.  The crew out here hangs everything on the hope SCOTUS doesn’t consider teachers ministers (even though a few of them already mentioned they do).

Moving on… What is your definition of “really well?” Having a grand professional life? Molding kids to your warped image of reality? Are you championing the teachings of the Church or are you teaching the kids to ignore it by your example? We certainly have a different definition of “really well.”

“I could have resigned and gotten whatever benefits came with that, but that would have implied that the teachings around same-sex marriage in the Church are right, and I really don’t think they are informed by people like Andrea and I who are in committed, loving relationships while serving the Church.”

And there you have it! They don’t think the teachings of the Church are right in regards to them. It always comes down to ME, doesn’t it? She also lays out her mission with Andrea. They want to inform (and really, in the case of the students, form).

Winters could give up now, too, knowing that she likely won’t be able to teach in the Church again unless the Church changes its attitude toward same-sex marriage.

Thanks for pointing out another Sisters of Mercy and Gwynedd Mercy  failure. It’s not the Church’s “attitude toward same-sex marriage.” It’s called DOCTRINE! How is it the sisters never explained this to you?

“When this first happened a lot of parents encouraged us to go after the archbishop [of Philadelphia],” says Vettori. “Even if we persuaded him to change his mind, we could have a different archbishop next month. And then we’d be back at square one. It’s the thinking and the policies of the Church that really need to change.”

It’s DOCTRINE, DOCTRINE, DOCTRINE. It wouldn’t matter which archbishop changed his mind (although you’re quite correct, Archbishop Chaput always follows Doctrine), it’s still the perennial teaching of the Church.

New Ways Ministry, a Catholic organization that advocates for reconciliation between the LGBTQ community and the official Church teachings, has compiled a list of people who have been affected—many of them fired from their jobs—because of the Church’s policies against same-sex relationships. Winters is the 53rd person on that list.

Uh, help!  Talk about an organization with no Catholic identity!  That would be New Ways Ministry!  http://www.usccb.org/news/2010/10-028.cfm

“The Church is losing good people,” she says. “I’ve been in Catholic education for 18 years and I’m committed to it. But they’ve fired us and lost people who are committed to teaching children in the faith because of who we are—because of who God made us to be. That’s the rub.”

The Church is losing good people??? Really? This is your argument? Do you remember a little thing called “The Reformation”? All sorts of people walked away over that one. It doesn’t make the Truth of the Church any less right. They’re still Truth. Remember all of the people who walked away from Christ, particularly when he foretold the Sacrifice of the Eucharist in John 6? Maybe he should have just changed his teaching for them.

They both worry about Catholic children who are struggling with their own sexual identity in school, and the message Winters’s firing sends them.

“It tells them they’re not worthy to teach in a Catholic school because of who they are,” says Vettori. “That they’re less than a full person in the Church and therefore less in the eyes of God. That’s the real horror in all of this.”

…and let’s parade the children out again, will you? If you bothered to show them Church teaching, they’d know their intrinsic value and the love the Church has for them. Please stop using them as pawns for your non-Catholic agenda.

Winters is now working with various organizations advocating for change within the Church: Dignity USA, a group that advocates for the rights of LGBTQ members in the Church, and the progressive organization Call to Action have both reached out to her.

Gee, there’s a shocker.

This week, Winters and dozens of her supporters arrived at the archbishop’s office in Center City with a petition signed by more than 22,000 people calling for “a moratorium on the firing of LGBT employees.”

Wow! A whopping 22,000 people out of almost 70,000,000 Catholics in America? The Church should be really scared now.

The petition was orchestrated by Faithful America, a Christian social justice organization, and calls for the archbishop to “ask Catholic schools before he gets involved with the hiring or firing of staff, in particular their gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual staff.”

Holy cow! Has Faithful America bothered to ever take a look at Canon Law? Uh, hello! Archbishop Chaput isn’t merely a figurehead.

Winters and Vettori are looking forward to the pope’s U.S. visit in September, and they hope to convince him to enact a moratorium on discriminatory firings.

Good luck with that. “Holy Father, can you please tell your bishops to tone down that whole Catholic thing in the Catholic schools?”

There are different ways that people form their personal theology, but it’s often either theologically formed or it’s experiential. And he’s experience. He meets people and he allows them to inform what he’s learned about theology,” says Vettori. “We know that if he met us and got to know us, I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t influence his theology.

Big. Huge. Facepalm! They really, really don’t get it, do they?

“That’s why a lot of what we’re saying is, Give us a place at your table,” Winters adds. “Talk to us. Meet us. Understand us. And let that inform your teaching.”

Great! Now, what God is saying is that you have a place at the table, but it’s HIS table. You don’t set it. You don’t choose the menu. You don’t get to choose who sits where, etc., etc., etc.

I just really feel sad for these ladies and their groupies. They’ve all just been so misled for so long. I honestly don’t think all of them are megalomaniacs. These ladies seem pleasant enough, but some who hold the same beliefs are megalomaniacs, and they just egg on the confused and uneducated.

Our Church is so beautiful and rich and is so willing to help us on our way. It’s so sad that people take such an adversarial view of it. Of course, many haven’t delved into it too much in the past 40+ years. There are just so many people running around thriving on the conflict when they really could be at true peace.

I hope many more will find out how much the Church truly loves them as the Catholics in this movie have: http://www.blackstonefilms.org/thethirdway/. I thank them for their efforts in educating their fellow Catholics in a way that the Sisters of Mercy have failed to do for these women.

Magic Queer Powers!

Hoo boy! I just couldn’t let the week go by without commenting on a letter from the now former Sacred Heart Cathedral teacher, Abi Basch (https://donotlink.com/medium.com/synapse/why-students-need-lgbt-teachers-and-allies-9eec4e5f2462). While reading it, my first thought is, “Yeah, none of these teachers have an agenda and all just want to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church.” (I almost typed all that with a straight face!) Basch is the epitome of what’s wrong in the SF Archdiocesan Schools right now. I actually applaud her for being honest, for once, although she simply should have left because her ideologies clash with the teachings of the school she is supposed to represent. She clearly made no effort to teach her students about the Catholic Church, nor, as you can see from Hugh’s letter found at the link above, did she make an effort to correct his misconceptions of Church teachings.

From Basch’s letter:

Yes it’s true — I am leaving SHC and moving to Los Angeles to teach at the Buckley School.

(By the way, Basch is also the person who registered the infamous teachacceptance.org domain name. Hon, since you are leaving, can I have it now so I can put it out of its misery?)

Also true — I am doing it in large part because I do not want to work without state and federal workplace discrimination protections that most Californians enjoy. And another truth — I AM LGBT. Now that I do not work for Archbishop Cordileone, I can say to my students, their families, my colleagues — without fear of losing my job: I am not only your ally. I understand your magic queer powers and the dangers you face when others fear their might — because I have them too.

Look out for those magic queer powers, people! This kind of bizarre quote is one reason people like me are opposed to teachers like her. No, we don’t want the phrase “magic queer powers” used in the classroom by our social studies teachers. Does somebody really think there’s a problem with that objection? I mean, really, this is one of the voices of a supposed movement and we get, “They’re scared of our magic queer powers!” It’s just, well, sad.

 Hugh Mac Neill — you wrote me such a beautiful open letter for the #teachacceptance Phil Ting hearing yesterday — thank you for letting me post it here. (Everyone read it! You will cry, I promise.)

Oh, you’ll cry alright. Not a single word about the Faith except to misquote it. No mention of God. The only person ever on a cross to this young man is Miss Basch.

I am so proud of you for being who you are and standing up for justice. I am moved by all of my students and colleagues, the parents (!!!) and gay and civil rights activists that have rallied around the #teachacceptance cause. I have learned boundless amounts from you. You have taught me about integrity and strength, and made me a better, fiercer, more compassionate human.

Lady, you just used the term “magic queer powers”. If that’s fierce and compassionate, you’ve missed some part of history in your “social studies” education.

I am grateful to SHC for the many ways it has tried to protect its LGBT population, even in the face of pressures from the Arch. And I am very much looking forward to being at Buckley, where my sexual orientation and experience fighting for social justice have been not only welcomed but celebrated. My love and support will continue with all of you.

Give me a break! You’ve all been whipped into a frenzy, but you are the one who has created pressures. Clearly, you just wanted to bring your “cause” into the classroom of a school which was established by a Church innately opposed to your efforts because she cares about souls. Not quite sure if you believe in souls and an eternal afterlife, Miss Basch, but your employer does. So, please, toddle off to corrupt young souls elsewhere with your lack of knowledge or conviction of the Catholic Faith, just don’t do it in a Catholic school. That has been the point all along. If you have an agenda, go to a place that welcomes it. Don’t expect to rail against an employer and have that employer give you the thumbs up!

You had a perfect “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in place, Miss Basch, but that’s not what you wanted. You wanted to openly undermine the teachings of the employer for whom you worked. I suppose this isn’t totally your fault. You and your ilk got away with it for so long because nobody ever seemed to care quite enough about the eternal souls of the children in the diocese. Clearly, Archbishop Cordileone does because he’s willing to go through hell to ensure these students are going to receive the One True Faith instead of the watered down version they’ve clearly been receiving up until now. Thank you, Archbishop Cordileone, for leading our Church through these difficult times.

NcR – National catholic Reporter

Anyone else getting tired of the endless whining from NcR? (Note the small “c”. That’s how I’m going to abbreviate the National catholic Reporter from now on thanks to a reader’s suggestion. It’s only fitting.) They must have noticed that there hasn’t been much posted as of late, so they put this out to keep the story “fresh” in peoples’ minds. Here’s the same story (their version of “fresh”), only the dates have changed (http://www.donotlink.com/modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-archbishop-versus-the-teachers). Prepare for an onslaught of rehashed articles from NcR in the next 21 days as the final deadline approaches for the teachers’ contracts to be signed.

Just a short recap from reality: Archbishop Cordileone hasn’t caved on Catholic identity as liberals would like him to do. The end.

Along with typical requests for higher wages, better retirement fund allowances, lower healthcare costs, and preservation of the current tenure system, the union continued to fight what has been its biggest battle yet: preventing new language in the employee contract that would deem all teachers ministers. It’s a semantic change, but one that would strip roughly 250 diocesan educators of their current legal rights as teachers and leave them vulnerable to arbitrary dismissal. After more than four hours of discussion, the negotiations ended at a standstill—as usual. “It was pretty fruitless, to be perfectly honest,” says Paul Hance, a social studies teacher at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo and one of two union representatives appointed by the school. “This thing has been a nightmare.”

So, why, pray tell, are we trying repeatedly to get the Archbishop to cave on Catholicism in the Catholic schools? That will continue to be a fruitless battle. Can’t you just accept the fact that Archbishop Cordileone isn’t going to cave to your threats? He will continue to reclaim Catholic identity in the schools under his care, and he will protect the children of the school from anti-Catholic messaging as much as humanly possible. Bam! We’re done. You can sign the contracts or not sign them, the choice is yours. I’m sorry you haven’t run into a faithful Catholic Bishop willing to care for souls up until now, but here he is!

The Archdiocese of San Francisco oversees the operations of 74 elementary, middle, and high schools across Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. Many of these schools are free to hire, fire, and educate as they please. But the archdiocese exerts executive control over the region’s four diocesan high schools—Serra, Kentfield’s Marin Catholic High School, and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco—and their nearly 3,700 students. At these schools, the whims of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone are most keenly felt.

Seriously – whims? Get a clue. I guess they’d consider Christ to have died on a cross on a whim. I’m so sorry that you have been so poorly educated that you wouldn’t know the Catholic Faith if Our Lord came down and explained it to you Himself, but it’s hardly a whim. It’s THE FAITH. It’s not the world according to you.

Pushback from students, parents, and educators regarding the staunchly conservative archbishop’s plans has been well documented by local and national media (even the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejected Cordileone’s proposed morality clause via a nonbinding resolution). For the most part, the issue has been framed as a revolt against a reactionary clergyman by liberal Catholics who feel that Cordileone’s labeling of same-sex marriage, birth control, and in vitro fertilization as “gravely evil” contradicts their values as post–Vatican II believers. In reality, however, far more is at stake, and the conflict stretches well past questions of Catholic doctrine. Owing to a potent 2012 decision by the United States Supreme Court on ministerial exception, those nearly 250 local teachers are on the edge of a vast legal gray area—one that may swallow them whole before the new school year begins.

All those who believe that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejection of Archbishop Cordileone’s morality clause has any bearing on the Catholic Church’s teachings, please raise your hand? I am a “post-Vatican II” believer and the term “gravely evil” doesn’t contradict my values in the least! Why? Well, that would probably be because I actually BELIEVE in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Same-sex marriage, IVF, and artificial birth control ARE GRAVELY EVIL! Deal with it! Thank you so much, NcR, for not actually saying that the Archbishop has called anyone gravely evil. First dose of reality I’ve seen come out of this publication in a long, long time. Now, if they could only come all the way over and acknowledge that Archbishop Cordileone was quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, wouldn’t that be nice? As I’ve pointed out before (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/the-archbishop-vs-the-red-herrings/), the use of “ministers” matters not.

The morning after that June 17 round of unsuccessful negotiations, Sacred Heart religious and social studies teacher Sal Curcio ambles into Java Beach Café near Ocean Beach toting a stack of legal documents, petitions, and rejected collective bargaining agreements. “I have three folders like this one,” he says, admitting that he had to buy an iPhone after “all this started” to help him keep track of the various components involved. “It’s horrendous,” he says with a pained look. “It’s as if we’re negotiating with a gun to our head.”

Three folders AND an iPhone just to keep track of the fact that the Catholic Church is Catholic? That mean ol’ Archbishop put a gun to his head and made him get an iPhone. Shucks, I suppose the Archbishop also put a gun to his head and made him work at a Catholic school? He probably made him go to Java Beach Café, too. Give me a break! The drama is unfounded. Sorry, the Archbishop is one of the nicest guys around. It might play well to the liberals who don’t know him, but the arch-villain persona given to him is wasted on anyone who has actually met him or heard his homilies or talks. He’s not inflicting his version of the Faith onto these “poor teachers”. He’s teaching THE Faith in the same manner as all the Popes I can remember. He’s being a father to them, and that means speaking the truth even if they don’t want to hear it. Rather than a comic book scenario, people might want to compare this situation to the good father with the rebellious teen. That’s the reality.

Curcio rattles off cases across the country in which teachers redefined as “ministers” have been dismissed without recourse: the Catholic school teacher in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who was fired after undergoing in vitro fertilization; the tenured religious studies professor at Lexington Theological Seminary who was fired for being Jewish; the high school gym teacher in Columbus, Ohio, who was fired after her mother’s obituary listed the teacher’s female partner as a survivor; and, most notably, the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision against Cheryl Perich, a teacher at a Lutheran grade school in Michigan who was fired for being narcoleptic—in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The decision was upheld unanimously by the court: “Having concluded that there is a ministerial exception grounded in the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, we consider whether the exception applies in this case,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts. “We hold that it does.”

Again, I’ve already dealt the Perich case before (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/the-archbishop-vs-the-red-herrings/), but people really need to ask this question: Why in the world do we have to know which teachers are using IVF, marrying their same-sex partners, using artificial birth control, etc.? Believe me, no faithful Catholic wants to know the intimate details of someone else’s sex life! Keep your private life private, please, and there’s no problem. Heck, the dear Sisters of Mercy, in the latest firing, told their lesbian teacher just that, and she agreed! Once it became public that she had “married” her same-sex partner, she was publicly contradicting the faith (AKA publicly undermining the Faith).

Support of marriage equality and LGBT rights, use of birth control, and undergoing in vitro fertilization can all become firing offenses.

Oh, my gosh! Right! If someone teaching at a Catholic school is publicly contradicting the Faith and, after counsel, continues in that action, they would then be thumbing their nose at the Faith. Undermining the Faith SHOULD be a firing offense in an organization whose goal is to teach people that sinning is bad and a danger to their soul. DUH!

In his attempt to make the diocesan high schools’ curricula more Christ-centered, Cordileone has enlisted Melanie Morey, the former provost of St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, to head the newly created Office of Catholic Identity Assessment. In a PowerPoint presentation given to teachers in February, Morey stressed that Catholic teaching should now be present in every academic subject; she suggested integrating religion into mathematics, for example, by comparing the solving of linear equations to communicating with Jesus. While the concept was largely laughed off by teachers, its message was all too clear: Start proselytizing to students—or risk your job. Curcio acknowledges that a handful of teachers have already left for other schools and that some families are looking to send their kids elsewhere.

Proselytizing??? Wouldn’t that mean transmitting the Faith? Well, to the sane, I think it would. Does this sound familiar, Mr. Curio?!

803 §2. The instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine; teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2N.HTM

A majority of the teachers nationwide who have been fired under ministerial exception were dismissed for marrying someone of the same sex, using in vitro fertilization, or having sex outside of marriage. Curcio, however, points out that employers needn’t give a rationale. “It could be an undisclosed reason,” he says. “What if I just don’t like you?” Across the country, ministerial employees have been fired for reporting possible sexual assault, for helping coworkers file harassment claims, and for having a disabling condition. While much of the local uproar has focused on whether or not people who work at Catholic schools must adhere to Catholic principles, Curcio says that the real argument is much more basic. “Does a religious employer have the right to be above the law? That’s the crux of the question here.”

Umm, hello! We’re talking about Catholic schools here.  How about you provide some examples of all those teachers who have been fired in Catholic schools for “I just don’t like you”? Which law states that Catholic school teachers can’t be fired for undermining the Catholic Faith?  The crux is this: Do Catholic schools have the right to be Catholic? It ain’t the Perich case. Mr. Curcio, you might want to actually read the opinions of the justices. Since I doubt you’ll go through the trouble, here’s what Alito and Kagan said:

When it comes to the expression and inculcation of religious doctrine, there can be no doubt that the messenger matters. Religious teachings cover the gamut from moral conduct to metaphysical truth, and both the content and credibility of a religion’s message depend vitally on the character and conduct of its teachers. A religion cannot depend on someone to be an effective advocate for its religious vision if that person’s conduct fails to live up to the religious precepts that he or she espouses. For this reason, a religious body’s right to self-governance must include the ability to select, and to be selective about those who will serve as the very “embodiment of its message” and “its voice to the faithful. Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F. 3d 294, 306 (CA3 2006).” https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/the-archbishop-vs-the-red-herrings/

Did that hurt, Mr. Curcio? The Supreme Court reiterated similar things in the very case you cited on “ministers”.

It’s something that Leslie Griffin bangs her head into all too often. A law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Griffin is an expert on constitutional law and has unofficially instructed the San Francisco diocesan teachers union on ministerial exception (the union is formally represented by a local labor lawyer, Stewart Weinberg, who declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations). Griffin says that since the 2012 Supreme Court ruling on ministerial exception, teachers across the country have been placed in a precarious position. California law, she points out, requires private employers to respect the privacy rights of employees. “It shouldn’t be possible that in San Francisco, discrimination against gays and lesbians is legal under religious freedom. That’s not legal under California law,” she says.

The archdiocese, Griffin continues, has entered into a strange legal realm where the law that applies to everybody else doesn’t seem to matter. “Most Americans think that if you have a job and you get mistreated, you can go to court and sue,” notes Griffin. But because ministerial exception is an affirmative defense ratified by the Supreme Court, potential plaintiffs in discrimination lawsuits are prevented from even attempting a legal rejoinder: “You lose your day in court.”

She actually seems to get that the Supreme Court is not on their side. Now if she could only get this through to the rest of them, all of us might move on. Religious Freedom means that the Church doesn’t have to put up with teachers in Catholic schools undermining the Faith. What a concept!

One day after the mid-June stalemate, Cordileone wrote letters to Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) in support of their proposed First Amendment Defense Act. The legislation, if passed, would prevent the federal government from penalizing religious institutions for making decisions based on opposition to same-sex marriage and sex before marriage.

Are we all chanting “Cardinal Cordileone! Cardinal Cordileone!” yet?! You should be! #cardinalcordileone

Crucial to this struggle is the fact that a contract doesn’t even need to include the word “minister” to effectively relabel teachers as such. The most recent version of the archdiocese’s proposed contract in fact excised the controversial word, but union lawyers insist that teachers would still be held to—and potentially fired due to—ministerial exception law. It all depends upon whether the archdiocese can claim that teaching at its schools constitutes ministerial work: an intriguing concept in light of Melanie Morey’s math lessons on “graphing lines and relating to Christ.”

It’s like they finally read my blog! Whether or not “minister” is in there means nothing. There’s no re-labeling going on. The Archdiocese of San Francisco doesn’t have to claim anything. The Supreme Court already has, and it was a rather big “Duh! Of course teachers can be considered ministers!”

Many current teachers predict that if the San Francisco archdiocese pulls this off, they will be subject to arbitrary dismissal. They question, however, whether the church will be able to replace them with local educators willing to be ministers. It may be a tall order: Several hundred teachers used to attend the yearly archdiocesan hiring fair. But, say teachers and parents, this spring only a few dozen showed up.

Again, that’s just silly. The Church and the Archbishop don’t arbitrarily do anything. Should he “pull it off,” I don’t see mass firings.  That certainly wasn’t the case in Oakland. However, should the teachers’ decide to air their sins en masse and cause grave scandal, I can pretty much guarantee the Archbishop will have faithful teachers lining up to teach for him, because they won’t fear persecution by their fellow teachers in San Francisco anymore. Right now, the liberal teachers don’t want to work for him and the faithful teachers are just waiting to see if one of their favorite bishops will be able to protect them. It would be a faithful Catholic teacher’s dream to teach for Archbishop Cordileone!

Despite the public outcry against Cordileone’s plan, few in the world of local Catholic education were surprised he took this route. Just last year a similar fight played out at the Diocese of Oakland, where Bishop Michael Barber altered the employee contract to require teachers to model Catholic moral teachings in their private lives. While a handful of teachers quit and public outrage was displayed on the local news channels, ultimately the diocese won.

Barber’s relationship with his parishioners wasn’t as frayed as Cordileone’s is, and he sat down with educators in attempts to come to a compromise. Cordileone has been present only twice during negotiations in San Francisco. But the most crucial difference, and one that distinguishes San Francisco’s ongoing dispute from similar cases across the country, is that the teachers in Oakland don’t have a union. Kathleen Purcell, who taught at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland and was fired after crossing out the morality clause on her contract, says that the quashing of the nonunionized teachers’ concerns set the tone for San Francisco’s current fight: “Once Oakland happened, [the Archbishop of] San Francisco started to get ready. They had a lead time.” San Francisco’s teachers, in fact, feel that Cordileone is making the play he has long desired to make: These are the first contract negotiations to come after the 2012 Supreme Court ruling. “I think he’s planned this exactly the way he wanted it to go,” says one teacher, speaking anonymously owing to fears regarding job security. “He knows the timing on everything here.”

Please! San Francisco and Oakland are worlds apart. That’s really the difference. The people in the largely suburban Diocese of Oakland aren’t quite as haughty as to take out full-page ads against their bishop. They definitely have their fair share of liberals, but they’ve had twelve years and three consecutive faithful bishops who have done great things. San Francisco is just in shock and frantic.

What the school year will look like come the fall remains undetermined. During a nearly nine-hour July 1 negotiating session, tentative agreements were reached regarding tenure and healthcare. But barring an unforeseen détente on ministerial exception, teachers’ contracts will expire on July 31. The notion of a strike is hardly far-fetched, but teachers hope that overwhelming public support for labor laws and LGBT issues will provide leverage before it comes to that. “San Francisco is a pretty big union town; we’ve got tons of support,” says Joe Hession, Serra’s other union representative.

The Supreme Court has told you how it’s going to go, guys. The Catholic Church is a pretty big universal organization, if you haven’t noticed. The “union town” has nothing on our 2,000+ years of resisting people like you. If you think we won’t back Archbishop Cordileone all the way to the Supreme Court, you are a bit daft.

But for many teachers, the uphill battle has already become the biggest burden of their career, and it may be just beginning. “This isn’t an overstatement: The entire nation is watching this,” says Sal Curcio. “If the archbishop can break a union in San Francisco—or render it useless by pushing an agenda that takes away the rights of teachers and also hurts the students—then they can do this everywhere.”

It’s not about breaking the union. It’s about retaining Catholic identity and Religious Freedom. The Church certainly isn’t saying you can’t have a union AND Catholic identity and Religious Freedom. You can. You are quite right about one thing, though, Mr. Curcio: the entire nation is watching. The amazing, faithful, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is leading the nation from San Francisco. He is leading us in traditional marriage, Religious Freedom, Catholic identity, and protecting our youth from those who would try to steal their souls. The Church in America is depending on him, and we need to constantly remember him in our prayers. I also have no problem praying that he will, one day, be Cardinal Cordileone right here in the area where so many are watching.

The Great Retread

Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the letter to end all letters, straight from the “Concerned Parents” Facebook page!  Oh, wait… Never mind.  What a letdown!  It’s just a retread from February.  I, personally, found it ridiculous from start to finish.  I think they were trying to be poetic but it’s just nonsensical.  If you need some comic relief, here’s the link to the “Great Retread”: https://medium.com/synapse/the-great-reversal-e6fc788a6541

Note the dramatic title:  “The Great Reversal.”  What is “The Great Reversal,” you ask?  Well, it’s a reversal from believing the teachings of the Church to not believing them.  Was that a big secret?  I’m reasonably sure people have noticed this by now.  Remember when “great” used to mean something?

 An open letter to students from concerned parents

Decades before you were born, we, your parents, grew up in Catholic and other schools where no one was “out.” We heard the term “fag” thrown around classrooms and hallways with casual cruelty. There was overt bullying and brazen gossip based on perceived sexual orientation. There was occasional violence. There was loneliness and even despair among our peers who knew they were “different.” There were suicides as well as descent into slower forms of self-destruction. There was anger smoldering beneath the surface among those who knew they would never be accepted. Our teachers and school leaders? Silent or worse.

I’m sure most of these supposed “Concerned Parents” were not in high school “decades before you were born”.  I think most of us have children in the first decade after we graduate.  I suppose more and more are selfishly putting that one off now, though.  “Gotta have my career, my car, my house – kids come last around here!”  Still, my youngest child in a long line wasn’t even born “decades” after I graduated.  So let’s just say we’re, maybe, talking about high school in the 80s.

Guess what?  I went to Catholic high school in the Bay Area in the 80s. Rampant abuse wasn’t to be found.  In fact, a couple of the kids who considered themselves “gay” and who everyone else thought were “gay” were class and school officers! While an occasional fight broke out amongst the boys, it was never aimed at these guys or girls.  It was usually the jocks fighting over a stolen girlfriend.  Here’s the real shocker!  I didn’t grow up in “progressive” San Francisco.  I grew up in the conservative ‘burbs.  There weren’t teachers hiding violence and shaming of homosexuals because it wasn’t happening.  I can’t believe the blatant dramatic lies being told to affect this generation!

You young students, our sons and daughters, in Catholic Schools in the last decade have grown up with a new reality. You have peers “out of the closet,” and you see that their human dignity is not diminished by their sexual orientation, and you indeed celebrate your unity undergirding the differences. You also have peers whose families are led by gay or lesbian parents; you visit them, they welcome you into their homes, you see their full humanity flowering in their families. Some of you live in such families, newly protected by laws recognizing civil same sex marriage. You may know a classmate who was conceived by in vitro fertilization. You do not see the circumstances of his or her conception as changing in any way the inheritance as a child of God. You include them in your circles without question. This is new, this is a blessed change.

Again, drivel. In fact, I’d have to say violence against all classes has gone up and it has nothing to do with following the teachings of the Catholic Church. In fact, it’s for the polar opposite reason. The only reason people are hyping this fear frenzy against the Catholic Church is because they want the Church to accept their way of life and to influence these kids to think the exact same way. I’ve already discussed the lame “in vitro” argument here https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/new-tactic-for-the-old-hypocrites/

The canard has been repeated time and again, but who in the hell is looking at any of the groups listed in their last paragraph and calling these children evil?  Oh, yeah, nobody in the Catholic Church.  How about you stop telling your children that the Catholic boogeyman is under their bed?  If you don’t want them exposed to Catholic teaching, take them out of the evil Catholic school.  Let me tell you again, for the slower learners: the Catholic Church believes that every human life is sacred.  You people, trying desperately to convince these kids with your dramatic soliloquies, are the ones who place limits on the value of human life.  You promote fulfilling your life before you have children as if they are a hindrance to your happiness.  You promote discarding children for your convenience, because of their sex or their race, or because there are too many of them.  You degrade women by promoting using them for their fertility or renting their womb for a nice paycheck, and you don’t give a darn about depriving children of their biological parents.  Want to deny that?  You can’t, so get over your sanctimonious selves!  You are the reason that kids value and respect life so little that they are beating the snot out of each other!

Then there’s the Catholic Church. Here’s what she says:

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

Note, it doesn’t say “gay” human life, straight human life, black, white, or any other color human life.  It’s ALL human life.  The Catholic Church doesn’t place limits on the value of each unique soul.  That would be you.

“There is no going back.”

Going back to what?  The farcical portrait they’ve painted of the Catholic high schools “decades before their kids were born?”  Please.  The Catholic Church has been constant. The “Concerned Parents” are the ones twisting themselves into pretzels.  They are the ones who show such abject disregard for life that suicides, brutality, and severe lack of respect for their fellow human being are running rampant.  The Catholic Church has been telling us this would be the end result of selfish, anti-life behavior for a long, long time.  You wanted to disregard the teachings of God?  You got death.

However, the language currently proposed by the Archbishop for your faculty’s handbook, in which active homosexuals, including those in marriages no matter how loving, are labeled “gravely evil”“ — that language is what is now repulsive to you.

OK, the “Concerned Parents” Facebook page might want to link to something a little more current.  First of all, “gravely evil” and all of the teachings cited in the original handbook (you’d better sit down for this!) come from the Catechism of the Catholic Church!  Next, the Archbishop actually removed the words “gravely evil” and just spelled out more of Catholic teaching on the subject.  Also, the Archbishop never said anyone was gravely evil.  Please drop the Sam Singer move.   As we’ve explained, time and again, only actions are called evil.  All those opposed to Archbishop Cordileone can come up with is a bunch of retread articles and the same three arguments over and over again.

What a reversal! Stay faithful to your new perception — and thank the current generation of teachers who have helped inform your consciences and boldly inspired you to believe that human dignity is indivisible. Stand with them, and start by learning more about human beings from all the disciplines you study, and most especially from your study of the Gospel of love, from the God who liberates slaves and all those oppressed, from the Spirit that stands with the truth of Church teaching based on the saving presence of God’s grace and mercy in our lives.

Remember, students, they are opposed to the Catechism.  They are repulsed by it, they want you to be repulsed by it, and they freely admit that the teachers are teaching the students to be repulsed by it.  Thanks for the honesty!  What happened to the teachers supposedly NOT teaching against the teachings of the Church?  And how about just a bit of a mention of learning what the Catholic Church teachings really are?  You also kind of left out the itty bitty part about SIN! That is precisely the problem these folks have.  They either no longer believe sin exists, or they believe sin is anything that disagrees with them.  Sorry, not reality. Sin is not based on your preferences.

Beware that your resistance to this handbook language does not get lost in anger or in a judgmental grudge against the Archbishop. We believe in loving even our opponents. We also know that God is God and we are human and we make mistakes. Believe in conversion, the turning of hearts and minds. As the Gospels exhort us: Be the salt of the earth, the light unto the world. Search for the pearl of great price and cherish it. Continue to put your arms around those of your peers who are most vulnerable to those and all hateful words, bring them close, wrap them in layers of protection and reassurance. They need and deserve your loving embrace.

Um, have they seen their Facebook page???  Their resistance was buried in anger and a judgmental grudge a long time ago!  Sadly, they are hoping Archbishop Cordileone and the rest of the faithful are going to convert to the secularized faith they hold dear.  That isn’t going to happen.  They missed the part of the Bible they cherry pick so well that says:

Sin offers death, for wages; God offers us eternal life as a free gift, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

We’re going to choose to follow Christ Jesus our Lord!

Retreat? Reality Check! You’re Being Flanked!

Just more of the same awesomeness from Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone this week!  After a nice week and a half of quiet, Sam Singer and his ilk are back tilting at the windmills.  They’ve been spinning (AKA lying) about how the Archbishop can’t show his face in San Francisco and has “retreat[ed] to the suburbs” (https://twitter.com/samsinger/status/606663339976957952).  Sam cites the Archbishop’s speaking engagement in Santa Clara to 500 people a couple of weeks ago as an example of him cowering in a corner or something.  Ahem!  The Archbishop has been speaking all over the country lately, not to mention ordaining a great group of awesome, young, faithful priests the last two weekends right in the belly of the beast.  I suppose it’s got to be a bit depressing for the “100 Prominent CatholicsTM,” but they might want to come back to this beautiful place we call reality.  I think people can figure out that our Archbishop has now become a well sought after speaker – so yeah, he hasn’t been here every day.  I believe he’s doing this little thing called his job. I guess they might just be hoping people didn’t notice?

This week, Sam’s Spinners (my new pet name for them) have tried to chomp down on the Archbishop’s comments made on “gender ideology” at the Sacra Liturgia conference.  Yep, it’s got me scratching my head, too.  Was this a shock to them?  I mean, the Pope has spoken about it, too.  Haven’t read the Archbishop’s great speech yet?  Here it is: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:-BKAGAIWsMgJ:cal-catholic.com/%3Fp%3D18909+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us.  Now, some are saying he was smug for pointing out that the list of “gender identies” has grown along with the insanity. Somewhere (although I haven’t seen a direct quote) he noted the acronym for “not heterosexual” keeps growing.  Do they always consider reality smug?  Maybe they consider pointing to something predicted to happen and having that prophecy fulfilled a problem?  Not really sure, but you don’t have to be a psychic to have seen that one coming.  I believe the reference to “alphabet soup” was actually coined by the types opposed to the Archbishop.

So, no, the Church doesn’t agree with transgenderism.  Shocked?  I’m reasonably sure you knew.  With the news of the week, why would anyone be shocked that the Archbishop would refer to it?  How does he differ from Pope Francis’ belief about transgenderism?  He doesn’t.  What is a bit shocking (although the stupidity of some doesn’t really shock me anymore) is that those who have appealed to the Holy Father to remove the Archbishop (and the publications that support that effort – AKA National Catholic Fishwrap) would make a thing out of this, since the same Holy Father said (as reported in the same National Catholic Fishwrap):

“Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings,” he continues.  “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”

With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator,” the pope says. “The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate.”

“God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth,” Francis says. “The design of the Creator is written in nature.”

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-strongly-criticizes-gender-theory-comparing-nuclear-arms

Again, the Holy Father and Archbishop Cordileone are on the same page.  Quite frankly, it’s pretty darn funny that those appealing to the Pope to remove the Archbishop are so “offended” that the Archbishop points to the schizophrenia in society that results in the acceptance of transgenderism, when the Pope Francis put nuclear arms and “gender theory” on the same plane!  They just don’t seem to get that the Archbishop is echoing the Holy Father.

By the way, big thumbs up to the Holy Father!  Thanks for pointing out what the liberals don’t seem to understand they are saying about God.  Now, to be fair, some of these liberals are atheists, so I’m not including them here.  However, the Christian ones (which include the ones whining about the Archbishop and saying he’s not following Jesus’ teachings) are saying that God creates mistakes (or accidents, as Pope Francis puts it).  Yes, they never come right out and say it, but that’s what they believe, or at least they’ve never actually thought it through, which is entirely possible.  Think about it: Bruce Jenner thinks that God blew it.  He believes God puts women in men’s bodies and vice versa.  What?  Was God tired that day?  Sleeping on the job?  He knows the number of hairs on their heads but just forgot which sex they were?  At least the atheists are more intellectually honest.  They just say there is no God and it’s all random.

Just to further ruin Sam’s Spinners’ day, this was also noted in the same article linked above:

Francis’ remarks on gender theory in the book follow similar remarks he made in a press conference on the papal plane in January in which he criticized what he called “ideological colonization” of less developed countries by those with more resources.

Recounting the story of a public education minister he knew who was offered money to construct new schools for the poor, Francis said that, to receive the money, the minister had to agree to use a course book with students that taught gender theory.

“This is the ideological colonization,” the pope said. “It colonizes the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure.”

“It is not new, this,” he continued.  “The same was done by the dictators of the last century.  They came with their own doctrine — think of the Balilla [youth groups of Fascist Italy], think of the Hitler Youth.”

Oh-ho-ho-ho, “100 Prominent CatholicsTM!”  In case you didn’t catch that, the Holy Father just called you dictators like the ones who ran the Balilla and Hitler Youth!  Don’t blame me!  You’re the ones trying to use your money and power to oust the Archbishop who is trying to follow the Pope.  I believe he also called you Herod earlier in the article, but I’ll leave you to read that yourselves.

One last little depressing thing for Singer, the Concerned Parents, and the “100 Prominent CatholicsTM” club…This recent little speech kind of blows the whole “The Archbishop is retreating because we’re so awesome!” thing out of the water – again.  Sorry!  Archbishop Cordileone is going to speak the truth and he’s going to support the teachings of the Holy Father no matter what “gotcha moments” you think you can make of that.  When trying to get the Pope to do your bidding, you might actually want to know what HE says before you bash the Archbishop for saying the same thing.  That’s really just one of your downfalls in life.  You don’t have a clue what the Church or the Holy Father teaches.

Doing the Pastoral Thing!

Somebody sent me a beautiful talk given by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone at a conference at St. Patrick’s Seminary early last year entitled, “Doing the ‘Pastoral Thing’ Will Always Be Harder, but Right.”  It seems to have been a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Normally, I would put the link to the entire talk, but it looks to have been delivered in response to some unknown controversy at the seminary (I’m sure those there know about it, but we don’t need to!), so I’m just going to quote some parts of it that were amazing.  These are the parts that seminarians everywhere should hear, as should those who are opposed to his efforts to help the SF Archdiocese.  I’d love to think they’d like to know what makes the Archbishop tick, but I’m reasonably sure they’d just like to throw that alarm clock out the window.

Of course, there is a valuable lesson of life here, especially for your future ministry as priests, God willing. Sometimes doing the right thing will be emotionally difficult. The temptation will be not to take decisive action in order not to create conflict and to keep relationships harmonious. Yes, often things can be worked out in less disruptive ways, and that is the course of action to take whenever possible. But other times you just have to bite the bullet, man up, and do the right thing regardless of how you feel about it.

Anyone else standing on a chair clapping right now???  I’ve run into a few good priests who have literally said to me, “I don’t want conflict,” and not acted on things they know they should have done.  It’s really frustrating for us laity to essentially watch your siblings throwing a temper tantrum and getting away with it.  I can tell you, as a parent, your children are not always receptive to what you are telling them, and sometimes all the explanation and conversation in the world doesn’t reach the rebellious child, so you just have to put the proverbial foot down. These priests are our spiritual fathers.  They don’t (or rather shouldn’t) just get to check out when life gets uncomfortable.  They do need to “bite the bullet,” as the Archbishop says.

None of what he says means love goes out the window when you have to be the adult in the room.  If you can really get to know “your child,” you can figure out the best way to reach him/her, but in the end, what needs to be done needs to be done.  More from the Archbishop on that later.

There is another valuable lesson of life here.  Some of you may not like the decision that was made, or the way that it was done.  You might feel that your loyalties are elsewhere.  When you don’t have all of the information, it is easy to second-guess and foster a hermeneutic of suspicion.  But I’ve learned that when you assume greater roles of responsibility over an organization, you become privy to information that not everyone has, and you begin to see things in a different light.  Quite often when you make a decision some people will get mad at you.

You always see this when a new president takes office.  In the election he says he’s going to do x, y, and z, but when the CBO comes back with numbers or he gets the daily intelligence briefings he wasn’t privy to before, he gets a far better picture of the problem and what needs to be done.  I’m sure this is similar for a Bishop/Archbishop, or even a Pope.  In the dioceses in the Bay Area, I don’t think anyone can quite comprehend the level of disaster the last thirty years have created until you’re trying to repair all the damage.  I remember getting frustrated about some bishop not dealing with some situation and I finally said something to him.  He politely asked me, “Do you know how many other fires I’m trying to put out right now?”  Again, I’m not privy to the daily briefings.  While the archbishop’s last comment was aimed at the seminarians who were living with the “issue”, I really think it can apply to all of us.

On the day you are ordained – God-willing that it happens – you will make a promise of obedience to your bishop.  That promise is not conditioned on any extenuating circumstance.  You do not promise to obey your bishop so long as you like him, and obey his decision so long as you agree with it.  That’s not obedience, that’s just being self-indulgent. Obedience only counts when you submit yourself to the will of the authority even when it’s unpleasant for you – that includes the authority of conscience, as I mentioned above when doing the right thing is emotionally difficult for you, but it also includes the legitimate ecclesiastical authority.

Archbishop Cordileone really nails what has been missing around here for a long time!  We had bishops/archbishops who ran the dioceses here more like a club than an organization with a hierarchy.  Maybe it’s because many of the bishops and priests were in school together and they never made the leap to being the bishop of people who were once their brother priests.  It could also be for the same reason the Archbishop is talking about – sometimes you just have to accept that not every decision you make is going to be understood (because some are missing the parts) or embraced.  They just didn’t want to be unpopular.

This is all the more important when it comes to obedience to your bishop, and other legitimate authorities, such as here at the seminary.  Otherwise, you begin to connive against the authority, and work to get your own way, which tears down any sense of solidarity or common purpose.  It all eventually leads to chaos.  And yet, it’s been my experience that those who are most conniving and challenging to authority, complaining about lack of consultation, are precisely the ones who are most dictatorial once they are in charge.  That is why it is so important that you learn the proper spirit of priestly solidarity, common purpose and serene obedience here and now, during your years of priestly formation, precisely so that you will be a just, generous and wise leader once you are entrusted with pastoral responsibility.  To expand upon what Bishop Daly told you in a rector’s conference a few months ago, I would also say that a conniving, insubordinate, narcissistic seminarian will be a conniving, insubordinate, narcissistic priest.

I hope you weren’t drinking as you were reading this because I’m reasonably sure your computer would be soaking right now!  AWESOME!  Translation: When the patients are left to run the asylum, you get more craziness!  It’s like he just spelled out the plot of Lord of the Flies!  Children cannot raise themselves without proper knowledge of authority or it will be every man for himself with the bullies in charge.  This was the history of St. Patrick’s Seminary.

The ideologue simply imposes his own ideas on everyone else, regardless of how it will be received and without trying to understand the people who have been entrusted to his pastoral care.  The lazy priest, on the other hand, simply lets people do and believe what they want; he avoids conflict at all cost, and builds everything around his personal life, his ministry included.

Whaaaaaat? I’ve NEVER seen that happen in the Bay Area, or anywhere else for that matter.  (Dramatic eye roll goes here.)  Archbishop Cordileone has been showing us for months just what he meant when he said this at the seminary!  Here’s a little more:

This is being pastoral: encountering the other, establishing a relationship with them, being lovingly present to them. A priest cannot possibly hope to help his people grow in holiness if he is not present to them. His loving, pastoral presence to them at those most critical moments of life – the loss of a loved one, the birth of a child, marriage, times of crisis – all of this prepares the ground for him to, when necessary, challenge them for their own ongoing conversion. So make no mistake: truly doing the “pastoral thing” will always be harder, it will always place demands on you, sometimes inconvenient and uncomfortable demands; it will require you to work hard.

Again, he’s been a living witness of this since he took over the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  He wasn’t just telling these young seminarians to do something he’d never do.  He’s ever going back to the opposition with love and compassion, trying and trying again to explain to them why he is doing what he’s doing.  He’s had meetings with the teachers and parents.  He’s had meetings with the press.  He’s still doing what needs to be done, but he’s doing it with painstaking patience.  (It’s been painful for me because I have the natural protective mom inclination to say, “Stop messing with my Archbishop you jerks!”)

Archbishop Cordileone went on to link the quotes above to how we have to treat the liturgy, probably because of the battles the faithful often get into over the music, the décor, etc., etc., etc.

 To have credibility, we have to model that first and foremost at the liturgy: we are the servants of the liturgy, not its creators. This takes a great deal of discipline, restraint and humility on the part of the liturgical ministers, and most especially the celebrant.

Can I just say that credibility has been missing around here for a long, long time? We’ve had four wonderful bishops come to our area in the last twelve years (one has sadly left).  They made great improvements, but we have a way to go!  A lot of those who think they are creators of the liturgy have retired or will soon.  Now these great new bishops have a lot of untangling to do.  In fact, I’m sure Mary, Undoer of Knots, is probably their favorite novena these days!

Now, some people might say that this is all fine and dandy, but it’s irrelevant because it’s not what’s happening in our parishes. Well, if you see a discrepancy between what is in the pages of the Church’s documents and what is going on in our parishes’ liturgies, it’s not because the documents are wrong!

This is where the three approaches can be so easily illustrated. The ideologue will simply start mandating changes without talking to people, seeking to understand them, and, most importantly, teaching them. He’s in charge, so he does what he wants, and even if what he wants is what the Church says we should be doing, he alienates people. The lazy priest simply lets things drift off on their own, and get further and further away from what the Church teaches about how we are to worship. This, too, will inevitably begin to affect how and what his people believe, and so weaken their faith. But the pastoral priest will educate his people about what the Church teaches, what the Council really had in mind for authentic liturgical reform; he will begin to introduce changes gradually, probably targeting one principal Sunday Mass to build it up as the one with special solemnity. He also will not take anything away from his people; he will keep the contemporary music at the other Masses, and teach the musicians how to do it well. In this way, he will facilitate liturgical renewal organically. And it can be done. I’ve seen it done. I know pastors who inherited a parish in shambles (in one of them, the kids’ swing set was in the pastor’s back yard!), and, by approaching it precisely this way, they have completely transformed their parishes: the Masses are full, there are long lines for confessions, the full spectrum of ministries abound – even including the teaching of Natural Family Planning – and people are on fire for their faith.

This won’t happen with the ideologue or the slouch. When the ideologue discovers that the high school kid is having a great time banging away at the drums at Mass, he’ll tell him to take a hike. Never mind that this was his one connection to the Church, and maybe even hope for keeping out of trouble. Of course, the slouch will just let it continue, maybe even encourage it, and pretend as if it’s enjoyable. The true pastor will befriend the young man, guide him as to how he can use his instrument in a way that supports the singing rather than drown it out, and begin to sensitize the musicians to their proper role. When the young man graduates and leaves for college, there is an opportunity to make a subtle change of direction.

The documents of the Church aren’t wrong?  Say it isn’t so!  They’re archaic, at least, right?  Really, this cannot be said enough!  The documents of the Church are not wrong!  We just got it wrong for so many years!  Archbishop Cordileone is very clear: something has to be done about our liturgy.  He’s training these men up in the way they should go and hoping they don’t depart from it so they can do the same for us and our children.

Archbishop Cordileone goes on to mention a few specific things in the liturgies around the Bay Area that are actually theologically incorrect and some that even encourage narcissism.  Narcissism is so big around here; it’s pretty much a hobby for some!  I’m hoping that all of his effort can stem that because, if you are familiar at all with Greek Mythology, you will remember that Narcissus drowned due to his love of himself.  What happens when you can no longer tread water?  You end up like the “100 Prominent Catholics,” sinking further into the abyss!

We cannot thank you enough, Archbishop Cordileone!   We know you’ve taken the harder road so many before you have failed to do.  Despite the media spin and the efforts of the “100 Prominent Catholics,” your love for the people in your care shines through!  You are the true shepherd that we need for our local area as well as for the whole country. May your efforts be blessed!

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